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March 31, 2005
2005 RLYW Staff predictions by SG
Comments Sean Injuries fell Boston's rotation as Schilling never really gets going and Wells is average in the ballpark he once wanted burned down. Wade Miller doesn't throw a pitch in anger this season and Matt Clement is the de facto ace.
The Yanks finally post that 1000 run season that Gammons talked about last season. Mussina wins 20, along with Johnson and Kevin Brown throws 180 innings. Wright and Pavano are both slightly above average.
In the Central, Minnesota and Cleveland feast on the weak sisters in the division -Chicago and Kansas City-and both win over 90 games.
Out West, the Angels break out to a Mickey Mantle dream season: Jump out to a big lead, come out of the all-star break and win 10 or 15 in a row and coast home.
In the playoffs, Johan Santana dominates the Angels, winning three games - 1, 4 and 5 in relief. But the Yanks steamroll the Twinkies in the ALCS after Minnesota just runs outta gas.
Atlanta and Florida provide a great pennant race, finishing 1-2 in the league in wins. San Diego wins a watered-down and Barryless NL West. St. Louis is never really challenged.
In the playoffs, Florida's pitching quiets the Cards lineup and San Diego wins three games in Atlanta to beat the Braves. Florida's three aces of Burnett, Beckett and Willis dominate the Pads, who only win Peavy's two starts.
In the World Series, the Yankees exact revenge for 2003 and erase a painful 2004 with a drubbing of Florida in the Fall Classic.
TVerik AL East: Boston. I feel it in my bones. Their pitching holds up, ours doesn't. AL Central: Cleveland. I don't see Santana extending his pitching from great to historic by keeping this up. AL West: Anaheim. I want to, but I can't pick any of the other "contenders". AL Wild Card: New York. I see the Twins and the White Sox actually challenging for this.
AL Playoffs: Boston beats Anaheim, New York beats Cleveland. Yanks over Sox in 6 games.
NL East: Atlanta. I've been wrong too many times before. NL Central: Chicago. They have some pitching injuries, but it's enough to push St. Louis back. NL West: I see San Diego winning the thing. That would be back-to-back good years from that franchise; first time since the Eighties. NL Wild Card: St. Louis. There won't be much doubt about this unless the Mets are better than I think they are.
NL Playoffs: Atlanta beats St. Louis, Chicago beats San Diego. Chicago beats Atlanta in five.
World Series: Yankees beat Chicago in six.
sjohnny Arod hits 800 in world series, yet still "not a real yankee"
SG The Yankees storm out of the gate by sweeping Boston in the first series of the season, and go wire-to-wire to win the AL East by five games, winning 102 games in the process. Alex Rodriguez hits fifty homers and wins a Gold Glove, and gets several hits with runners in scoring position in winning the MVP. Randy Johnson wins 20 games and breaks Ron Guidry's Yankee strikeout record of 248. Boston gets the Wild Card with 97 wins.
In the AL Central, something clicks for Jose Contreras, and he and El Duque combine for 35 wins. The Sox ride their starting pitching to an upset win in the AL Central, as Johan Santana regresses a bit and the Twins defense struggles after the losses of Koskie and Guzman.
In the AL West, Oakland's young pitchers struggle to acclimate to the majors, and Los Angeles of Anaheim rides Vladimir Guerrero and Bartolo Colon's bounceback season to a fairly easy divisional title.
In the playoffs, the Yankees lose to Contreras and El Duque but beat Mark Buehrle twice and Freddy Garcia once to advance to the ALCS. The Angels sweep the Red Sox, who don't have the hunger to win after their victory last season.
In the ALCS, the Yankees lose the first two games of the ALCS, then storm back to win the next four.
In the NL East, Tim Hudson and John Smoltz key another Braves division title. The Mets finish below .500, as Victor Zambrano and Kaz Ishii combine for 300 walks, and Carlos Beltran keeps his low batting average from last year but loses the power that he had (steroids?). Larry Bowa's departure and Jim Thome's monster season propel the Phillies into the wild card.
The Cardinals romp through the NL Central, as the Cubs suffer injury after injury to their starters, and their tattered bullpen completely collapses.
The Dodgers hold off the Padres in the NL West, as JD Drew stays healthy and makes up for the loss of Beltre.
In the NLDS, the Braves leverage their starting pitching advantage to beat the Dodgers, and the Cardinals pound the Phillies pitchers to advance. In the NLCS, the Cardinals are too strong for Atlanta.
In the World Series, Pujols and Rolen are too much for Randy Johnson, and the Cardinals beat the Yankees in six games. --posted at 5:25 PM by SG / |
Rudy Guillen, similar to Tim Battle, is a toolsy OF without a huge performance track record that I really like. Unlike Battle, Guillen does have a couple solid seasons under his belt; it’s just that his last one was nothing to write home about.
Coming off of a .260/.311/.414 season for the ’03 BC Yanks that landed him 3rd on BA’s list that year and 2nd on my list, Guillen only managed a .264/.313/.339 line in the FSL. I tried looking for some encouraging statistical trends based on his ’04 work to put in this report, but I couldn’t really find any. He began the season hitting “well”, and by well I mean he was hitting tons of singles, but not doing much else. Predictably, the singles started disappearing and so did his productivity. It was at this point he fell victim to a high ankle sprain. Once he returned from the sprain some months later, Guillen continued hitting for mediocre average with not much walking or power and he also made the permanent switch to RF as Melky Cabrera had taken over his CF position.
As it stands, Guillen is a COF coming off a year with little walking and minimal power, yet I am still high on him. The reason for this can be explained by my belief in two things. First is that Guillen’s coaches believe that his ankle injury really affected his approach at the plate and though he was hitting poorly before the injury, any chance of recovery was pretty much ruined by what the injury did to his mental approach at the plate. In addition, though I was never much of a believer in the Vlad Guerrero tools comparison of ’02, I still am a fan of Guillen’s tools. He has a very good arm and should be an overall solid defender in RF. Offensively, I am a believer in Guillen’s power, despite the mediocre showing in ’05 I still have memories of the tear he went on after a slow April of ’03 to push his numbers toward respectability. Lastly, I made this comparison and I still want to stick by it…probably.
The Yankees seem to have a similar faith in Guillen, as he will be starting the year as the AA RF despite not really “earning” that promotion. He will be in a better offensive environment so there should be superficial improvement to his numbers, in addition, I think he will genuinely play better now that he is over the ankle sprain and hopefully this means the power that he showed when hitting 11 homers in the ’01 DSL is back. At 21 and in AA it is a bit early to call this a make or break year, but considering all the soon-to-be expiring Yankee ML OF contracts, a big year could be crucial to Guillen’s future.
Make sure you scroll down and read Fabian's posts on Christian Garcia and Eric Abreu. Garcia in particular looks like a stud in the making.
As spring training winds down, I figured it'd be a good time to look at what's been happening down in Tampa. The only job that is up for grabs right now is the spot of 25th man on the roster, whose primary job will be backing up Bernie Williams in CF. I grabbed the Yankees spring training statistics from USA Today to see how people are performing. Spring training statistics are largely meaningless, because of the dilution of competition as well as the small sample size, but they are often given significant weight by baseball management in the case of players "on the bubble".
Tony Womack has been doing a fine impression of Enrique Wilson, but it doesn't appear to have swayed Joe Torre's thought process as far as moving him to leadoff. I'd like to think this is because Torre understands small sample size and the importance of past performance when making decisions, but it's more likely that he just likes keeping Alex Rodriguez in the second spot and doesn't want to move Jeter down. I guess it doesn't matter as long as the right decision gets made.
The best news for me so far on the offensive side has been Jason Giambi. He appears to healthy, is getting significant playing time, and has shown enough power to make me think he will be a force this season. He's even gotten into the field for a few games, although at this point the best Yankee lineup would have him as the DH and Tino Martinez (who is struggling) at first base. This is because Ruben Sierra should not be getting significant starting time, and also because I fear that Giambi at first will be pulled from close games in late innings for Tino's defense, which would be problematic.
The "exciting" battle for 25th man appears to have come down to Bubba Crosby, Damian Rolls, Russ Johnson, and dark horse Colin Porter. Crosby has been the best hitter so far, but Torre seems to be infatuated with Rolls's and Johnson's ability to play the infield. With Rodriguez and Jeter expected to start every game if healthy, and Rey Sanchez already on the team, I don't see that this matters much, but Torre loves versatile defensive players who can't hit for crap. This is a complication of the foolish idea of going with 12 pitchers.
Bernie Williams has been hampered again by injuries in spring training, and is really starting to show his age. I love Bernie, he has been one of my favorite players as a bridge from the Yankees of Mel Hall and Bob Geren to today's perennial AL East champion, but I am very concerned about him this year. Aside from his well-documented defensive issues, his health is a big concern. If he misses any significant time, the Yankees can move Matsui into CF, but then they have to choose from Ruben Sierra or the 25th man as the full-time LF, an even scarier proposition than Bernie costing 50 runs in CF. I hope Bernie can stay healthy and go out with a bang. He is 36 this year, the same age that Joe Dimaggio and Mickey Mantle played their final games for the Yankees.
To avoid turning this into a full-fledged season preview, I'll go over to the pitching side now.
All indications are that Randy Johnson's knee is a non-issue, and he appears to be gaining strength. In addition, newcomers Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright have been quite impressive so far. I was lukewarm on the Pavano signing, but everything I'm reading about him encourages me. He is apparently quite a student of the game, and is seeking guidance from Mike Mussina and Jorge Posada, and appears to be a very cerebral-type pitcher who studies opposing hitters extensively. I realize the numbers in his past history are cause for concern, but I am cautiously optimistic.
Jaret Wright has been dominant so far in spring training. He appears to have matured quite a bit from his days in Cleveland. I still think he was a very risky signing, but he's making just a little more than Sterling Hitchcock did from 2002-2003 for a total of 80 innings of a 5+ ERA. If he can stay healthy, I think he can provide 180-200 league average innings, which will be an asset. I've only seen him pitch two innings this spring, but was very impressed with his command and poise.
Kevin Brown's results have been mixed, but he appears to have his back problems worked out and has gotten some velocity back. Last year he was in the 88-90 mph range with his fastball, but this spring he has been clocked as high as 94. I still doubt he makes 30 starts this year, but have a good feeling that he will be solid when he takes the hill. I got to watch him earlier today, and outside of a shaky first inning he looked pretty good.
And what about Tanyon Sturtze? I still am skeptical, but he has been very good since September of last year, with much better command, and with the new cutter that Mariano Rivera showed him. He's still a wild card, but as a spot starter and long man I think he will be decent. Sturtze and Tiger Wang look to be the best bets to take any starts that come up when one of the other starters get hurt, and Wang also acquitted himself decently in the spring, and looks to be fully recovered from his surgery a few years back. I don't know if Buddy Groom will take a spot in Columbus until an opportunity arises in the majors, but if so he may be a viable left-handed option if the need arises during the season.
One thing that strikes me is how inflexible the Yankee roster is right now. The Yankees will likely carry no one with options with the possible exception of Bubba Crosby, so they won't be able to do much in-season manipulation unless injuries occur. I still hope that Andy Phillips, Colter Bean and Robinson Cano get to see some time this year. The Yankees are also trying to find takers for Alex Graman and Bret Prinz, who are both out of options. I don't think they'll get much for them, but some catching depth to stick at Columbus would be nice. As it stands now, the Yankees are very thin at catcher.
We'll see what happens when the games start to count in a week, but the key thing right now is that the team looks healthy and ready to start the season at full strength. How long they'll stay there is an another issue. --posted at 12:16 AM by SG / |
While I found the Yankees selection of Jon Poterson in the ’04 draft to be indefensible, I was both surprised and pleased with them picking up Garcia. I had not heard much about Garcia before draft day, but all I needed to know, and found out quickly, was that he threw hard and had very little mileage on his arm due to only pitching his senior year of high school. The Yankees were able to sign Garcia quickly and send him to the GCL for some work.
Garcia’s inexperience was easy to locate as he struggled with walks, 4.0 per 9 innings during the GCL regular season, many of which stemmed from inconsistent curveball command. The other side of that is that when he did command his curveball, GCL hitters stood little to no chance. In addition, walking a lot of hitters did not stop Garcia from running up excellent strikeout totals, 11.1 per 9 innings to be exact. As the season went on, the GCL coaches gained enough confidence in the pitching newcomer to allow him to hold the role of number 1 starter for the postseason and it worked out for everyone since the GCL Yankees ended up as league champions.
The lanky RHP’s success and ability to overcome being new to the pitching aspect of baseball can be credited entirely to a right arm with loads of natural talent. Though he is still lanky and has room for physical maturation, Garcia’s fastball already sits in the low 90s and he reportedly hit 97 in the playoffs, according to Pinstripes Plus. In addition, some scouts feel that he could eventually sit in the upper 90s as a relief pitcher or in the mid 90s as a starter, with the occasional 100 thrown in. As if that’s not impressive enough, some scouts see Garcia’s out pitch, the curveball, as major league average right now. His development with this pitch should only be aided by the Yankees recent decision to emphasize the development of a pitcher’s fastball, curveball, and changeup before anything else. With the rest of his arsenal being as effective/dominant as it was in the past calendar year, Garcia had little incentive to utilize the changeup. However, the progress he has made with this pitch during the offseason will determine whether his final line in ’05 makes him look like a future dominant reliever or a future front of the rotation starter.
Garcia’s ’04 GCL performance was somewhat similar to what Abel Gomez did at the level in ’03, though Garcia did admittedly outperform Gomez, and they do at least hold the similarity of good fastballs. From what I’ve seen reported, Garcia probably has better control of his and has a much better breaking pitch as scouts already feel his curveball will be an outstanding out pitch. All this leads me to believe that Garcia should get the job done, with relative ease, for Charleston in ’05. My only concern is that more so than others his transition to full season ball could see him suffer through some dead arm towards season’s end due to his inexperience.
Eric Abreu, who had been briefly mentioned by BA in the past, finally logged significant innings in ’04 and did not disappoint. His summer began in the GCL where he was quickly promoted after 12.1 dominant innings as he limited opponents to 6 hits, 2 walks, and struck them out 14 times. Abreu then got better once promoted to the NYPL where he faced more age-appropriate competition. In 27.2 innings, opponents hit .238 with a .317 SLG and struck out in 46.5% of at bats while only managing 6 walks. It was clear Abreu needed another challenge, and the Yankees gave it to him with a promotion to the Florida State League. Once there Abreu continued to dominate his competition; 17 innings produced a BAA of .125 with a .232 SLG and strikeouts in 26.8% of at bats to go along with 6 walks.
Judging by his ’04 numbers, Abreu is about neutral as far as groundball-fly ball tendencies. He also seems to be about equally tough on left and right-handed batters, perhaps more so to left-handed ones. Combined between the NYPL and FSL, LHB hit ~.160 while striking out ~42% of the time and managing 3 extra base hits. RHB hit ~.210 while striking out ~35% of the time and managing 6 extra base hits. He faced RHB just slightly more than he did LHB in ’04, but the reason I’m wary of making the distinction is that the difference in splits did not really develop until his FSL split and there may be a reason for that.
While Abreu regularly sports a low 90s fastball that can reach the mid 90s, during his time in the FSL his fastball had lost a lot of zip due to fatigue. Without that to keep RHB completely honest, they may have been able to cheat a bit when hitting him. Despite this he was still able to pitch extremely well due to his command/control of his fastball and his curveball and change up combination. Fatigue in a season that only lasted about 57 innings is a concern for a prospect attempting to be a starter. When combined with that started being listed at 6’1’’ there is the looming concern that a move to the bullpen may come quickly and unnecessarily.
Abreu should begin the ’05 season as a member of either the Tampa or Trenton rotation. I would look for him to experience a lot of early success and my only concern would be to keep an eye on how he holds up as the season progresses. Noting that his NYPL numbers are arguably equivalent to or lesser than those of Jesse Hoover, who has the better pitcher’s build, there is probably the question of what separates the two. The answer would be that I just have a better gut feeling about Abreu who also happens to be 17 months younger and possesses better control of his pitches.
April At the end of the April, the Red Sox had stormed out of the gate, winning 16 of 24 games and opening up a big 7 game lead on the Yankees, who struggled in losing 15 of their first 26 games. The Yankee offense was lousy, putting up a cumulative batting line of .244/.342/.406. Alex Rodriguez in particular put up the putrid line of .191/.303/.287. The pitching staff did not help either, putting up a 5.19 ERA, with Mussina and Pavano getting pounded. Moose went 1-1, but posted a 6.67 ERA. Pavano went 0-4, with a 6.67 ERA. Could the Yankees recover from this dreadful start?
May May went much better, as the Yankees rebounded to win 17 of 27 games. Unfortunately for them, they lost 1.5 games in the standings, as Boston continued to play well, winning 19 of their 28 games. At this point, the Yankees were looking at an 8.5 game deficit. The Yankee offense improved slightly in May, hitting .264/.343/.440. Jason Giambi clubbed 7 HRs, and Derek Jeter hit .364/.442/.586, scoring 26 runs in the process. On the pitching side, Mussina rebounded to go 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA, as the staff went 17-10 with a 4.27 ERA. Joe Torre overused Mariano Rivera, as he pitched in 14 of the 27 games, notching 5 saves, 2 wins, and posting a 2.35 ERA.
June Things began to turn in June, as the Yankees picked up 5 games on Boston by going a whopping 20-7. The team hit a cumulative .259/.348/.445. Hideki Matsui had a monstrous(get it?) month, hitting .363/.449/.706, clubbing 10! HRs and driving in 31 runs. Jorge Posada did quite well himself, chipping in a .327/.393/.618 line. In this month, it was the pitchng staff which keyed the resurgence, chief amongst them Jaret Wright, who went 4-0 with a stellar 2.23 ERA.
through the All Star Break With the All Star Break beginning after games of July 10, here's how the AL standings were shaping up:
Regular season -- through 7/11/2005
Year Team W L Pct GB L10 RF RA East 2005 Boston 54 33 .621 - 5-5 510 408 2005 Baltimore 51 37 .580 3 1/2 7-3 513 434 2005 New York (A) 50 37 .575 4 4-6 461 394 2005 Toronto 49 39 .557 5 1/2 7-3 507 454 2005 Tampa Bay 36 53 .404 19 6-4 366 455
Post All Star Break July The Yankees began the All Star Break at Fenway Park against the hated Red Sox. In the first game, Carl Pavano tried to recover from a terrible beginning to his Yankee career vs. Matt Clement whom many felt would've been a better signing, and who had begun the season 9-3 for Boston.
7/14/2005, NYA05-Bos05, Fenway Park
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB DP 2005 New York (A) 2 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 5 11 1 14 1 2005 Boston 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 1 4 0
New York (A) AB R H BI AVG Boston AB R H BI AVG Jeter ss 6 0 2 0 .293 Damon cf 4 0 1 0 .269 Rodriguez,A 3b 5 2 1 0 .241 Vazquez 2b 4 1 2 0 .254 Sheffield rf 4 2 3 0 .298 Ortiz dh 4 1 1 2 .291 Matsui lf 5 1 1 1 .297 Ramirez,M lf 4 0 0 0 .326 Posada c 4 0 3 2 .327 Nixon rf 4 0 2 0 .329 Giambi dh 2 0 0 1 .219 Millar 1b 4 0 0 0 .333 Williams cf 1 0 0 0 .222 Mueller 3b 3 0 0 0 .280 Crosby pr 3 0 0 0 .122 Mirabelli c 3 0 0 0 .232 Martinez 1b 3 0 1 1 .230 Renteria ss 3 0 0 0 .260 Womack 2b 4 0 0 0 .268 33 2 6 2 37 5 11 5
New York (A) INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Pavano W 6-9 8.0 5 2 2 0 8 109 74 5.54 Rivera S 21 1.0 1 0 0 0 0 10 7 1.34 9.0 6 2 2 0 8 119 81
Boston INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Clement L 9-4 4.0 7 4 4 4 4 81 44 3.77 Halama 2.0 3 1 1 1 2 40 23 4.94 Kim 3.0 1 0 0 1 5 41 28 3.32 9.0 11 5 5 6 11 162 95
Pavano's masterful game pulled the Yankees within 3 games of Boston.
The excitement was building as the Yankees tried to continue their momentum as Jaret Wright faced off against Wade Miller in the second game of the series.
7/15/2005, NYA05-Bos05, Fenway Park
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB DP 2005 New York (A) 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 6 1 5 3 2005 Boston 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 6 1
New York (A) INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Brown W 6-3 7.2 3 0 0 2 8 107 67 2.81 Rivera S 23 1.1 1 0 0 0 2 18 11 1.27 9.0 4 0 0 2 10 125 78
Boston INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Wakefield L 5-7 6.2 6 1 1 1 3 106 72 4.33 Timlin 2.0 0 0 0 3 0 32 14 3.78 Kim 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 3.30 9.0 6 1 1 4 3 139 87
Giambi's third inning HR was all the offense Brown needed, as he and Rivera combined on a four-hit shutout to blank the Red Sox 1-0.
Could this be the Boston Massacre part 2? With the Yankees sweeping the first three games of the series to pull within one game of Boston, the two teams sent their aces to the mound. Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling faced off in a much-hyped matchup that turned out to be a blowout.
7/17/2005, NYA05-Bos05, Fenway Park
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB DP 2005 New York (A) 0 0 3 0 0 2 0 2 0 7 11 0 6 0 2005 Boston 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 6 2 9 2
New York (A) AB R H BI AVG Boston AB R H BI AVG Jeter ss 5 1 1 0 .294 Damon cf 4 0 0 0 .266 Rodriguez,A 3b 4 1 2 3 .238 Bellhorn 2b 4 0 1 0 .250 Giambi dh 4 0 1 0 .221 Ortiz dh 4 0 0 0 .284 Matsui lf 4 0 1 0 .297 Ramirez,M lf 4 0 2 0 .320 Sierra rf 4 0 0 0 .186 Renteria ss 3 0 0 0 .252 Martinez 1b 4 1 1 0 .227 Varitek c 3 0 0 0 .214 Crosby cf 4 1 2 1 .151 Millar 1b 4 1 1 0 .333 Womack 2b 4 0 1 0 .261 Mueller 3b 3 0 1 0 .274 Flaherty c 4 3 2 3 .276 Payton rf 2 0 1 0 .327 37 7 11 7 Nixon ph 2 0 0 1 .324 33 1 6 1
New York (A) INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Johnson,Ra W 11-5 5.1 4 0 0 2 9 105 66 3.64 Quantrill H 1 1.2 1 0 0 1 0 28 18 5.73 Rodriguez,F 2.0 1 1 1 0 2 20 15 4.13 9.0 6 1 1 3 11 153 99
Boston INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Schilling L 6-5 7.0 9 5 4 2 4 106 72 3.63 Halama 1.0 2 2 2 0 1 17 11 5.16 Tomori 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 11 5 8.74 9.0 11 7 6 3 5 134 88
Johnson pitched well, but Boston worked his pitch count enough to get him out of the game after a little more than five innings. Luckily Felix Rodriguez and Paul Quantrill were able to close out the game as the Yankee offense managed to pound seven runs off of Schilling and his replacement, John Halama. It is not known if this game caused Schilling to start crying.
July ended with the Yankees and Boston tied for the division with identical 62-42 records.
August August saw the Yankees and Boston basically hold even, the Yankees falling 1/2 game behind Boston by going 18-11 to Boston's 18-10.
Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez paced the offense, as Giambi went .305/.445/621 with 8 HR and 23 RBI, and Rodriguez hitting .339/415/.559 with 6 HR ans 22 RBI. Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Mike Mussina, and Mariano Rivera each went 3-1. Rivera went through WWWMW™(What's wrong with Mariano Week) in August, with a 7.30 ERA, blowing 3 of 4 save opportunities, and allowing 6 of his 8 inherited runners to score.
September With 1/2 game separating Boston and New York, it all came down to September. Boston began the month by winning their first 4 games, with the Yankees winning 3 of 4 games. Heading into a three game series at home with Boston on September 9, the Yankees still trailed by 1.5 games. Luckily, the Yankees were able to throw RJ vs. Wakefield in the first game,
9/9/2005, Bos05-NYA05, Yankee Stadium
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB DP 2005 Boston 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 6 0 6 1 2005 New York (A) 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 x 6 8 0 6 0
Boston AB R H BI AVG New York (A) AB R H BI AVG Damon cf 4 0 1 1 .250 Jeter ss 3 1 1 0 .268 Bellhorn 2b 4 0 0 0 .239 Rodriguez,A 3b 3 1 1 2 .256 Ortiz dh 4 0 0 0 .287 Sheffield rf 3 1 0 0 .299 Ramirez,M lf 4 0 0 0 .324 Matsui lf 3 2 2 2 .290 Renteria ss 4 0 2 0 .288 Giambi dh 3 0 1 0 .254 Varitek c 4 0 1 0 .235 Williams cf 4 1 2 1 .240 Millar 1b 4 0 1 0 .300 Flaherty c 4 0 1 0 .228 Mueller 3b 3 0 0 0 .262 Martinez 1b 3 0 0 1 .247 Payton rf 2 1 1 0 .319 Womack 2b 4 0 0 0 .270 33 1 6 1 30 6 8 6
Boston INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Wakefield L 7-12 6.2 8 6 6 3 4 101 61 4.23 Tomori 1.1 0 0 0 0 3 22 16 6.75 8.0 8 6 6 3 7 123 77
New York (A) INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Johnson,Ra W 16-8 7.0 5 1 1 1 10 110 70 3.39 Groom 2.0 1 0 0 0 1 32 21 4.10 9.0 6 1 1 1 11 142 91
Now facing a slim 1/2 game deficit, the Yankees sent Mike Mussina to the mound to try and give the Yankees their first sole divisional lead of the season, against noted Republican and loudmouth Curt Schilling.
Boston INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Schilling 4.1 9 2 2 2 2 85 53 3.16 Halama 0.2 0 0 0 1 1 13 6 5.09 Mantei 1.0 1 0 0 0 2 11 8 5.63 Embree H 10 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 11 8 3.25 Kershner H 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 11 7 7.18 Foulke BS 7 1.0 2 2 2 1 2 33 17 3.07 Timlin L 4-3 2.0 2 1 1 1 0 21 12 3.36 11.0 14 5 5 5 8 185 111
New York (A) INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Mussina 6.0 4 1 1 5 6 120 77 3.76 Gordon BS 6 1.0 3 2 2 0 0 20 13 3.18 Rodriguez,F 2.0 3 1 1 1 2 46 29 3.40 Rivera W 8-3 3.0 4 0 0 0 6 52 35 2.38 12.0 14 4 4 6 14 238 154
After six solid innings by Mussina, the Yankees turned a 2-1 lead over to Flash Gordon. However, a Johnny Damon single was followed by a Mark Bellhorn groundout, bringing up the dangerous David Ortiz. Ortiz cranked a homer into the short porch in right, giving Boston a 3-2 lead. Gordon got out of the inning, but the damage was done.
Alan Embree cruised through Matsui, Posada, and Giambi in the bottom of the seventh.
In the top of the eighth, Felix Rodriguez attempted to hold Boston. A single by Mueller, a walk by Ramon Vazquez, and a double by Johnny Damon got Boston a big insurance run. September callup Jason Kershner retired Bernie, Tino, and Womack 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth.
Boston failed to score in the top of the ninth, giving the Yankees the daunting task of scoring two runs off Keith Foulke in one inning. Derek Jeter led off the inning with a double down the third base line (he is clutch after all). Foulke then threw a wild pitch moving Jeter to third. A flustered Foulke walked Alex Rodriguez on a 3-1 pitch, bringing up Gary Sheffield. Another wild pitch scored Jeter and moved Rodriguez to second. Sheffield then followed with another double, putting the winning run on second with no outs, and Matsui, Posada and Giambi coming up. However, Foulke sacked up, fanning Matsui and Posada, then inducing a popup to short from Giambi. On to extra innings.
It was Mariano time for the Yankees, as Joe Torre brought him in to keep Boston scoreless. Boston asked Mike Timlin to do the same. Rivera pitched three shutout innings, and Timlin matched him in the 10th and 11th. Then, in a scene eerily reminiscent of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, Jorge Posada led of the bottom of the 12th with a game winning HR, putting the Yankees into sole possession of first place for the first time.
That lasted for one day, as Boston managed to come back the following day.
9/11/2005, Bos05-NYA05, Yankee Stadium
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB DP 2005 Boston 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 8 12 0 10 1 2005 New York (A) 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 4 6 2 5 0
Boston AB R H BI AVG New York (A) AB R H BI AVG Damon cf 4 1 1 0 .254 Jeter ss 4 1 1 0 .270 Bellhorn 2b 3 1 1 2 .238 Rodriguez,A 3b 3 1 0 0 .256 Ortiz dh 5 2 2 1 .288 Sheffield rf 4 1 2 4 .304 Ramirez,M lf 4 0 1 1 .324 Matsui lf 3 0 2 0 .291 Stern lf 0 0 0 0 .381 Posada c 4 0 1 0 .306 Millar 1b 5 1 1 0 .296 Williams cf 4 0 0 0 .239 Payton rf 5 1 1 0 .320 Giambi dh 4 0 0 0 .249 Mirabelli c 4 1 2 4 .240 Martinez 1b 3 0 0 0 .243 Youkilis 3b 4 0 1 0 .214 Womack 2b 3 1 0 0 .266 Renteria ss 5 1 2 0 .290 32 4 6 4 39 8 12 8
Boston INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Wells 5.0 4 4 4 2 6 75 46 3.97 Mantei 2.0 1 0 0 1 3 30 17 5.36 Timlin W 5-3 2.0 1 0 0 1 0 17 10 3.24 9.0 6 4 4 4 9 122 73
New York (A) INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Pavano 7.0 6 2 2 2 2 121 81 5.16 Stanton H 4, L 1-6 1.1 4 3 2 0 1 31 20 6.23 Groom BS 1 0.1 2 3 0 1 0 13 6 4.07 DePaula 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 7.04 9.0 12 8 4 3 3 166 108
An exhausted Yankee bullpen had to try and use Mike Stanton and Buddy Groom to preserve a two run lead.
The Yankees fell another half game behind Boston heading into the final series of the season, and trailed Boston by one game heading into Fenway for a three game set.
The Yankees managed to pull even with Boston in the first game of the series thanks to Kevin Brown's 10th win of the season.
9/30/2005, NYA05-Bos05, Fenway Park
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB DP 2005 New York (A) 0 0 1 4 1 1 2 1 0 10 12 0 7 0 2005 Boston 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 9 3 7 2
New York (A) AB R H BI AVG Boston AB R H BI AVG Jeter ss 5 0 0 1 .264 Damon cf 5 0 0 0 .250 Giambi dh 4 0 0 0 .250 Bellhorn 2b 4 0 0 0 .236 Sheffield rf 5 2 2 2 .296 Ortiz dh 4 0 1 0 .287 Matsui lf 4 2 2 0 .289 Millar 1b 3 1 1 0 .278 Posada c 3 2 0 0 .296 Nixon rf 4 1 2 1 .299 Martinez 1b 4 1 1 0 .247 Mueller 3b 4 1 2 2 .264 Phillips 3b 5 2 3 3 .314 Payton lf 4 0 0 0 .296 Crosby cf 5 1 2 2 .189 Mirabelli c 3 0 2 0 .238 Womack 2b 4 0 2 2 .269 Renteria ss 4 0 1 0 .302 39 10 12 10 35 3 9 3
New York (A) INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Brown W 10-7 7.0 6 1 1 2 6 95 61 3.64 Groom 2.0 3 2 2 0 0 34 20 4.02 9.0 9 3 3 2 6 129 81
Boston INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Wakefield L 8-15 4.1 4 6 1 3 0 72 38 4.43 Kershner 2.0 3 2 2 0 1 38 27 6.40 Tomori 1.1 4 2 2 1 0 27 16 6.53 Kim 1.1 1 0 0 0 1 16 11 3.36 9.0 12 10 5 4 2 153 92
In Game 2, another Johnson vs. Schilling matchup led to another Yankee win.
10/1/2005, NYA05-Bos05, Fenway Park
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB DP 2005 New York (A) 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 3 7 0 5 1 2005 Boston 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 4 0
New York (A) AB R H BI AVG Boston AB R H BI AVG Jeter ss 4 0 2 1 .266 Damon cf 4 0 0 0 .248 Rodriguez,A 3b 3 0 1 0 .262 Bellhorn 2b 4 0 1 0 .236 Sheffield rf 4 0 0 0 .293 Ortiz dh 4 0 1 0 .286 Giambi dh 4 0 0 0 .248 Ramirez,M lf 4 0 0 0 .326 Posada c 4 0 0 0 .294 Renteria ss 2 1 0 0 .300 Sierra lf 4 0 0 0 .211 Varitek c 3 0 0 0 .228 Williams cf 4 1 2 0 .250 Millar 1b 2 0 1 1 .279 Martinez 1b 4 1 1 1 .247 Mueller 3b 3 0 1 0 .264 Womack 2b 3 1 1 1 .269 Payton rf 3 0 0 0 .293 34 3 7 3 29 1 4 1
New York (A) INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Johnson,Ra W 19-9 8.1 4 1 1 3 7 113 64 3.07 Gordon S 3 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 4 2 2.95 9.0 4 1 1 3 7 117 66
Boston INN H R ER BB K PCH STR ERA Schilling L 15-8 6.2 6 3 3 1 5 115 75 2.98 Timlin 2.1 1 0 0 0 2 31 20 3.12 9.0 7 3 3 1 7 146 95
The final game of the season came down to Mike Mussina vs. former Yankee David Wells, going for his 20th victory. A win by Boston would force a tie in the AL East.
10/2/2005, NYA05-Bos05, Fenway Park
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB DP 2005 New York (A) 0 2 0 0 4 0 2 1 0 9 14 0 4 0 2005 Boston 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 10 0 7 0
There are some weird numbers in there on both sides. Sturtze didn't get any relief appearances for some reason, I'll have to see why that is. Also, Rodriguez had a lousy season by his standards, a bit surprising to me. Pavano was horrendous. I find this very encouraging actually, The Yankees won the division despite some pretty bad performances.
I don't know if anyone else will find this interesting, but I figured I'd throw it up here for the hell of it.
Update: I made a site using Diamond Mind's web report generation feature if anyone wants to see how other teams/players did. --posted at 8:00 AM by SG / |
Marquez was part of the Yankees ’04 draft, and despite being relatively unheralded made quick work of the GCL and held his own in the NYPL against older competition. Marquez had little to no hype coming out of high school, but was able to quickly develop as part of a JUCO program and is now considered one of the better prospects in a decent Yankee system.
Marquez’s GCL performance was everything you could ask for in a pitching prospect’s statistical record. Limit HRs? 0 in 14.1 innings says that was accomplished. Limit BBs? 4 in 14.1 innings says that was accomplished. Miss bats? 18 in 14.1 innings says that was accomplished. Limit hits? 10 in 14.1 innings says that was accomplished. With the GCL clearly being no challenge for Marquez, he was quickly promoted to Staten Island where he found things a bit tougher.
That increased difficulty was evident in the decline of his K rate from 11.3 per 9 GCL innings to 6.4 per 9 NYPL innings. His walks and hits per 9 also rose, from 2.5 to 3.6 and 6.3 to 9.1 respectively. Despite all this performance degradation I was very encouraged by Marquez’s performance. He has had a relatively unheralded amateur career and come very far in a short period of time. Marquez’s pitcher type also somewhat explains the high hit rate. As an extreme groundball pitcher Marquez relies a lot on his defense and his infield wasn’t the surest this past summer. In addition, despite allowing a relatively high amount of hits, Marquez limited extra base hits, resulting in an IsoP allowed of about .080, much better than the league average of .113.
Marquez’s main weapons in his pitching arsenal are a low 90s sinking fastball, which he uses to generate a ton of groundouts. In addition, he throws a power changeup to help keep left-handed batters off balance. At this point, his repertoire is much more adept at handling right-handed hitters, as they stood little to no chance against him in ’04 (AVG around .250, SLG around .300). A wiry frame and good arm action should allow hopes for Marquez adding some more power to remain viable.
At this point, Marquez looks set to begin the ’05 season somewhere near the top of the Tampa Yankees rotation. I would expect him to perform similarly to how Steven White did at the level, perhaps with more strikeouts and less home runs. Based on his repertoire and performance in the organization thus far, a late promotion to AA does not seem completely out of the question. Especially if he can develop his off speed repertoire and make lefties as useless against him as right-handed hitters have been.
Outside of about 50 AB in the ’04 GCL, Tim Battle has not produced in his professional career. Despite that and being someone with a bias towards prospects that produce, I like him more than all the players behind him on this list and some of those ahead. Battle is a case where I find the tools too enticing to ignore and the poor results thus far fully explainable.
Battle’s first exposure to professional pitching, in the ’03 GCL, was a forgettable one. He didn’t walk much, didn’t hit for any power, and struck out a ton. The one thing he had going for him was that he was able to steal 5 bases in 6 attempts. Overall it was a summer to forget, but remembering Battle was only 17 at the time should ease the pain of his poor performance. Furthermore, after the season it was found out that the reason Battle was feeling discomfort in his ribs during his swing was that he had cancer. Taking all this into account the Yankees gave Battle a GCL do-over in ’04. In 50 AB, Battle went .320/.364/.560 with 5 SB and 2 CS. Following that short stint of success, the Yankees promoted Battle to the NYPL, where he was amongst the league’s youngest players, because the team was pretty…not good and Battle was a likely overall improvement on what was already on that field.
While Battle was having success in the GCL, his 4:15 BB:K ratio made it clear that he would struggle with the college pitching of the NYPL, and struggle he did. When the season was over his final NYPL line was .246/.302/.322 with a 14:74 BB:K ratio and 13 SB with 6 CS in 199 at bats. So, why am I so excited about Tim Battle?
Above all else, Tim Battle’s defensive ability excites me. As a HS he threw 90 MPH off the mound, so the arm is there, in addition, there are no questions about his ability to stick in CF long-term as is the case with many CF prospect since his speed grades a 70 on the 80 point scouting scale (Only grounding into 2 double plays in 355 career at bats is also a testament to Battle’s wheels). In fact, the ’03 Baseball America Draft Preview noted, “some scouts feel he’s a better athlete than Florida high schooler Lastings Milledge” (Milledge is currently regarded as one of the game’s brightest prospects and plays in the Mets organization). The same draft preview noted that Battle had good power, but was “so raw that he might need two years in Rookie ball”. With his 2 years in Rookie ball complete I feel that Battle is ready to emerge. Had he been allowed to spend the entire summer of ’04 in the GCL I feel Battle would have maintained his hitting and been named the league’s top prospect so it should come as no surprise I have little doubt that he will have a respectable ’05 in Low-A. I don’t think he’s refined his offensive game to the point where he can be counted on to produce huge numbers, but the raw talent will carry him. And if you don’t believe that then we can at least agree that “speedneverslumps” and this guy has an abundance of speed. It’ll be a couple years before the overall package is ready, but it should be worth it.
Even if he currently had no merits as a prospect, I would still enjoy following Bronson Sardinha’s career because he brings me back to the point where the minor leagues first captured my full attention. It was around the 2001 draft when I decided to get a subscription and closely follow this minor league thing, outside of Nick Johnson. Since then, I’ve been hooked, so Sardinha will keep a warm place in my heart as far as that. As far as who he is as a prospect, Sardinha is currently a frustrating ‘tweener.
Much of the frustration and ‘tweener-dom, yeah, ‘tweener-dom, stems from a simple fact of life: Bronson Sardinha cannot play defense. Bronson Sardinha began his defensive journey as a SS in the ’01 GCL. Numerous errors and missed balls led to Sardinha seeing some time as the team’s DH. The Yankee organization remained faithful and gave him the job as the opening day SS for the ’02 Greensboro Bats, numerous errors and missed balls later, the SS experiment was ended and Bronson Sardinha became a LF. He was not given much time in LF as the whole point of that seemed to be just to get him in the OF so he could more easily move over to CF. As a CF, Bronson Sardinha made errors and missed balls for both the ’02 Bats and the ’02 SI Yankees. In ’03 Bronson Sardinha was back to being a LF and he made errors and missed balls for the Tampa Yankees and then the Battle Creek Yankees and thus ended the Bronson Sardinha as an OF experiment, or so it would seem. The Yankees then decided that since his arm was decent enough, they would switch him to 3B for the ’04 season. As a 3B, Bronson Sardinha was horrendous. At no point did he develop consistency in the field as he continued to make errors and miss balls and by the end of the year he found himself missing games due to his defense and being a DH when he did play. Where this leaves us is that for the ’05 season Bronson Sardinha will once again be a LF/DH, his least bad defensive position, which leads to his offense.
Bronson Sardinha does not hit many home runs. Unfortunately, he’s not a lanky guy who hits tons of doubles or triples either. As a result Bronson Sardinha’s power potential isn’t much to write home about, 10-15 home runs given a full season of playing time seems about right. This wouldn’t matter much if Sardinha hit for really high averages. Unfortunately, he’s only a solid hitter for average; .270-.280 seems accurate. This wouldn’t matter much if Sardinha drew ridiculous amounts of walks. Unfortunately, he’s only solid at drawing ball four. 55-70 walks seem accurate, if given a full season.
Putting Sardinha’s offensive and defensive information together immediately makes me think John Vander Wal. A corner OF who can provide you with fringe average hitting and below average defense for stretches or a solid bat off the bench. He also has one up on Vander Wal in that he’s a pretty good baserunner. It’s not much of a future, but I feel pretty safe about Sardinha’s chances of making it.
I had no clue about Jeff Karstens from a scouting or statistical point of view at the outset of the ’04 season. Even after the first month or so of play I still did not care for him. In fact, it was not until Jose Valdez’s fluky beginning began to come apart that I decided to pay attention to Karstens and came away mildly impressed.
Karstens’ greatest asset, both statistically and based on what the scouts say, is that he has terrific control. He had a 2.0 BB/9 rate with Tampa last year and scouts speak of his ability to place his fastball. In addition to his 88-92 MPH fastball, Karstens’ arsenal includes a curveball, a change up, and a slider. None of these pitches is anything to write home about as Karstens success is mainly due to his ability to place his fastball and the rest of his repertoire when needed.
Despite a respectable K rate of 7.5 K/9 in ’04, Karstens still gave up 9.8 H/9. The high hit rate was a product of his lacking a true out pitch amongst his secondary offerings. In addition, Karstens also gave up 0.7 HR/9, which while not excessive, is not very good either considering it is the FSL and it is the Tampa ballpark. Once again, his lacking in the “stuff” department can be blamed, especially on those occasions where he doesn’t get the ball down.
If nothing else, Karstens was the most consistent pitcher amongst those that spent the entire year with Tampa. His ’04 performance has earned him a promotion to AA where it is said that pitchers of his ilk that can make it are separated from those who won’t. At the moment, I’m cautiously optimistic about Karstens chance to succeed. If he can pass the test he could be a potential middle to back of the rotation guy.
Overall, I think of Karstens as being a guy similar to Brad Halsey. A pitching prospect who could be a solid contributor if called upon, but certainly not someone to build around. In other words, trade bait if he gets off to a hot start, especially considering the team will likely be needing a 2B or CF by midseason.
For those who own Baseball America’s 2004 Prospect Handbook they may recall Made being named as THE sleeper prospect of the Yankee organization. At the time, I did not know what to make of Made. I felt he had displayed solid secondary skills in his ’03 GCL stint, but I doubted his ability to hit for average and did not think the Yankees would send him to full season ball to begin the year. I felt the lanky SS with supposedly solid all around tools would most likely repeat in the GCL or play in the NYPL to moderate success.
When opening day rolled around and Made was the starting SS for the Battle Creek Yankees I was pleasantly surprised. I was even more surprised as the early portions of the season went along and I began to form an opinion of Made. He was as unsteady in the field as I expected, making a spectacular play one inning and botching a routine one the next, and he was hitting for a low average, another thing I suspected. However, I was disappointed to notice an apparent loss of the power that he displayed in the GCL and no signs of the plate patience or discipline he had formerly exhibited. Despite this, Made was allowed to troop on as an unproductive member of a solid team. With the demotion of Estee Harris and promotions of Melky Cabrera and Eric Duncan from the club, his offensive shortcomings became even more noticeable. Finally, in the second half of the season, things clicked.
From July 1st to the end of the MWL season, a span of 242 ABs, Made hit .331 with a 19 walk to 23 strikeout ratio, both excellent numbers, however, the power was still mediocre as he only hit 14 doubles, 1 triple, and 2 home runs. Aside from the consistent lack of power, as compared to ’03, I am encouraged by Made’s year, mainly due to how he finished. Hopefully, Made’s second half was a result of his development as a player and he will begin to harness his physical talents.
That said, I would not expect much out of Made this year. If he can maintain his strike zone patience and discipline from the second half of ’04, he might be able to do decent, but his recently mediocre power will not be helped at all by Tampa and the FSL. I would be very encouraged by final numbers similar to ’04, .289/.336/.381, but am expecting less. The expectations are low enough that Made could end up surprising and moving up the list, but I doubt that it could be enough for me to truly get excited about him, especially considering that he is a SS prospect in an organization with SS/3B covered by a plethora of superior players ahead and behind him.
Jesse Hoover is the first of a few Yankee ’04 draftees who will be appearing on this list. Something that I emphasize a lot in my ranking of players is age versus level of competition. The older a guy is compared to his peer groups the more he has to dominate to impress me. This, of course, is not set in stone as it may be augmented by the past experiences of the player in question. In the case of Hoover, coming from a lesser profile college program, relatively unheralded, and being sent to the NYPL which is about age-appropriate for your typical college draftee, a solid or good campaign would have been enough for me to take slight notice. Instead, I was forced to take huge notice.
Over the span of 55.2 NYPL innings, Jesse Hoover went from draft-day afterthought to one of the most talked about prospects in the Yankees system, at least amongst Yankee minor league observers. Those who attended the games spoke of how hard the ball popped the catcher’s mitt on those occasional 97 MPH fastballs or how foolish he could make hitters look with his curveball. The 6’3’’ and 210 lb. Hoover also drew raves for his mound presence and general “look”. Those who keenly observed his stat sheet couldn’t help but smile at the 14.6 K/9, as each of his outings would produce a ridiculous strikeout total, or 4.5 H/9, as batters could barely safely put the ball in play when they did make contact, or 0 HR allowed, since both putting the ball in play safely and doing so with authority was nigh impossible.
Aside from all that scouting and statistical positivity, I still have my reservations about Hoover as a prospect. Sure, he struck out a bunch of guys and did not give up many hits, but he did have strike zone troubles as he gave up 4.2 BB/9. This is not an overly troublesome walk rate, but still something to keep an eye on. In addition, it gives me reason to wonder whether the hit and strikeout rates will become more realistic once Hoover has a better idea of where the ball will be going. There is also the issue of his repertoire. Standard Yankee organizational procedure at the moment is to start new pitchers in the system off by only allowing them to work their fastball, curveball, and change-up, regardless of what they have been successful with in the past. Most of Hoover’s ’04 success was attributable to the fastball and curveball, but as he moves up the ladder he is going to have to quickly develop his changeup or another pitch to keep more experienced hitter’s balanced or else he will return to the place where he began his ’04 work, the bullpen. Lastly, Hoover’s accomplishments should be viewed in the light that the NYPL was the worst hitting league in minor league baseball last season and his SI home ballpark is about middle of the road for offense.
It appears the Yankee organization, buoyed by Jesse’s performance, is going to give the right-hander a chance to establish himself as a starting pitching prospect with the Tampa affiliate. A performance similar to what Matt DeSalvo did at the level in ’04 is not out of the question, in fact, considering how much room he has to regress from his ’04 performance it is hard to envision Hoover having a bad ’05 and he should be expected to be up quite a few spots from his current ranking when next year’s list comes around.
Similar to Estee Harris, Ramon Ramirez’s ranking has taken a big hit. He was at number 5 last year and is down 15 spots to 20 this year. Ramirez started the year off in AAA, a bold move considering he had only worked 21 AA innings in ’03, but more reasonable when factoring in his dominance of the ’03 AFL. His first 4 starts produced very poor results that resulted in a quick demotion to AA. The demotion did not stop the sucking and the Yankees finally found out that Ramirez was actually injured.
Based on the premise that a month and a half of pitching injured is bound to skew one’s stats, Ramirez’s healthy 2004 line looks like this: 99 innings, 92 hits, 48 runs, 47 earned runs, 9 home runs, 25 walks, 116 strikeouts. The ERA is still nothing to write home about, but the peripherals continue to be exciting. In addition, just having had the shoulder injury is a memorable negative because Ramirez’s being a short right-handed pitcher attempting to make it as a starter is tough enough without an injury history.
Despite the injury issue and his huge drop in the rankings, I’m still a big fan of Ramirez and was very disappointed when he was quickly cut from major league spring training. I still hold out hope that he can put it together as his mid 90s fastball and slider combination is very intriguing. It remains to be seen whether he can or will pick up an effective third pitch, which should serve to solve some of the long ball issues caused by a limited repertoire. And if that third pitch never comes along and Ramirez’s chance to be a solid starting pitcher remains unlikely as a result, I still have faith in him becoming a dominant reliever. I mean, he has Electric Stuff™ that I’m sure a sterling pitching coach like Mel Stottlemyre can work wonders with. And if you don’t believe that then you could simply place faith in his consistently good strikeout rates, consistently good walk rates, mediocre home run rate, and combine it with his scouting report and assume that at the least he has a nice bullpen future somewhere.
Before that future is consummated, the Yankee organization will give him another shot in the Columbus rotation for ’05, if he does well he’ll likely be called up at some point this year since every member of the Yankee rotation is a decent enough injury risk. I would expect him to be successful in a short big league stint and in his Columbus season, but with a likely long term future as a set up man.
Since then, there have been some roster changes, so I set up my computer to re-run 1000 more with the latest build of ZiPS. Here were the *results for those 1000 seasons.
ZiPS High Low Team W L RF RA DIV WC W W American League East Boston Red Sox 96 66 933 762 678.7 210.0 117 79 New York Yankees 91 71 867 772 275.7 379.5 115 71 Baltimore Orioles 82 80 838 829 26.3 90.0 103 59 Toronto Blue Jays 81 81 788 782 18.3 77.0 98 63 Tampa Bay Devil Rays 72 90 707 805 1.0 7.8 90 53
West Los Angeles Dodgers 94 68 756 655 841.8 29.2 113 75 San Diego Padres 83 79 745 718 112.0 122.8 103 66 Colorado Rockies 77 85 819 861 27.0 28.8 97 56 San Francisco Giants 75 87 751 807 11.3 17.3 92 55 Arizona Diamondbacks 74 88 728 801 7.8 9.8 94 50
ZiPS likes Boston in the AL East, hates the whole AL Central, sees a dogfight in the AL West, and the AL East runner-up as the wild card. It also likes Philadelphia and the Mets in the NL East, LOVES the Cardinals(which it did last year as well), really likes the Dodgers, and sees the Cubs as the most likely wild card.
The Yankee projection was a bit troubling to me, as they missed the postseason 35% of the time. Of course, a healthy Jason Giambi could make most of that difference up.
In addition to running these with ZiPS, I ran another 1000 with Diamond Mind's own projection disk. Here's some background information about Diamond Mind's projection system. The *results for those sims were:
Diamond Mind High Low Team W L RF RA DIV WC W W American League East New York Yankees 97 65 893 735 573.8 315.5 119 75 Boston Red Sox 95 67 920 765 407.3 451.0 118 77 Baltimore Orioles 82 80 834 829 17.3 68.7 103 62 Toronto Blue Jays 75 87 800 859 1.5 17.0 95 56 Tampa Bay Devil Rays 68 94 736 860 0.0 2.0 93 49
West Los Angeles Dodgers 90 72 807 726 450.8 172.5 109 71 San Francisco Giants 90 72 863 772 445.8 173.8 109 71 San Diego Padres 83 79 786 762 101.3 97.0 109 59 Arizona Diamondbacks 69 93 792 909 1.0 2.0 91 50 Colorado Rockies 69 93 845 978 1.0 1.5 91 50
In the only league that really matters, the Yankees were about 6 wins better on average, and made the postseason 89% of the time. Minnesota projected as a stronger favorite in the Central, Oakland projected as better than Los Angeles of Anaheim of Orange County of California of the United States of North America, but worse overall. Again the AL East runner-up looks like the most likely wild card.
In the inferior league, Philadelphis still projected as the favorite, although Atlanta improved and the Mets plummeted by about eight wins. So Mets fans can take their ZiPS-induced delusions of grandeur with a big grain of salt. San Francisco improved the most of any team, and looks about even with Los Angeles according to Diamond Mind's projection disk. Again the Cubs look like the team with the best chance for the wild card.
*For both sets of runs, W = average wins, L = average losses, RF = average Runs For, RA = average Runs Allowed, Div = division titles won, WC = wild cards won, and High and low W are self-explanatory. I kept ties in there, giving partial credit, which is why those numbers are not all integers.
Upon noticing the divergent results for several teams, I compared the two sets of data.
ZiPS - DMB Combined Avg Avg Total Total High Low Team W RF RA W L DIV WC Wins Wins American League East Baltimore Orioles 0 4 0 82 80 43.6 158.7 103 59 Boston Red Sox 1 13 -3 96 66 1086.0 661.0 118 77 New York Yankees -6 -26 37 94 68 849.5 695.0 119 71 Tampa Bay Devil Rays 4 -29 -55 70 92 1.0 9.8 93 49 Toronto Blue Jays 6 -12 -77 78 84 19.8 94.0 98 56
West Arizona Diamondbacks 5 -64 -108 72 90 8.8 11.8 94 50 Colorado Rockies 8 -26 -117 73 89 28.0 30.3 97 50 Los Angeles Dodgers 4 -51 -71 92 70 1292.6 201.7 113 71 San Diego Padres 0 -41 -44 83 79 213.3 219.8 109 59 San Francisco Giants -15 -112 35 83 79 457.1 191.1 109 55
Here, W, RF, and RA are the difference between what ZiPS projected and what Diamond Mind projected, The last six columns are the combined totals of the 2000 runs. Obviously, the most striking difference was in San Francisco's projection. I also noticed that Diamond Mind was far more favorable to the Yankees. If you look at the differences in RF and RA, that will give you some insight into why teams performed differently in the two runs.
For example, the Yankees projected to score 26 more runs in Diamond Mind, and allow 37 fewer, an overall run differential improvement of 63. Statistically, 10 runs is roughly equivalent to a win, so the Yankees 6 win improvement from ZiPS to Diamond Mind is due to Diamond Mind having a more favorable projection for both their offense and defense(including pitching).
One of the biggest differences that I am aware of between the two projection systems is that ZiPS uses Voros McCracken's controversial DIPS theory when projecting pitchers. DIPS basically focuses on a pitcher's strikeouts, walks, and home runs allowed, and assumes that their control of hits on balls in play(non-homer hits and outs) is minimal. Tom Tippet of Diamond Mind did his own research on this theory, and concluded that pitchers "have more influence over in-play hit rates than McCracken suggested", so he uses a pitcher's hits allowed totals in his projections.
ZiPS also uses comparisons with similar players in building its projections, whereas Diamond Mind uses a Marcel type projection system which only focuses on what a player himself has done. I am also pretty sure that ZiPS is harsher to older players than Diamond Mind, which would be another reason why San Francisco and the Yankees would project better in the system. I would tend to give Diamond Mind a little more faith because they know the intricacies of their game when they are building projections, not to take anything away from Dan Szymborski, because he does a great service by building his disk and providing it for free.
I always caution about reading too much into projections. Projection systems can only use available data to calculate what a player will do going forward. These are still athletes playing games, and their true talent level can always change. A pitcher can learn a new pitch, or just find themselves (look at Jason Schmidt prior to joining San Francisco for example). Also, injuries always turns out to be a big factor, and Diamond Mind uses a random injury system which would even that out over a large number of sims. I just like running these to get a baseline feel for how the season would play out if teams and players do what they're supposed to do, which never happens in baseball.
I think the more data you have the better, so I'd look at the combination of what the two systems project.
Anyway, in a couple of weeks, none of these things will really matter all that much. Of course, to me that's one of the many great things about the game. First pitch in two weeks. --posted at 6:27 PM by SG / |